DU QUOIN — Du Quoin broke open the game in the first seven minutes of the second quarter and went on to beat Sesser-Valier, 56-48, to win its first game of the season at the 20th annual Du Quoin Tip-Off boys basketball tournament.
"We want to play fast, " said Du Quoin coach Justin Barrington. "We started slow, but once we got the ball in transition and got a couple of easy buckets our guys fed off that. We’re an athletic team that has to push the basketball up the court and attack the rim to be successful and tonight we did."
Du Quoin (1-2) lost to Massac County, 51-47, on the first day and fell to Cairo, 72-42, on the second. The Indians play defending champion Carmi-White County in the final game of the tournament tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Lamontay Daugherty led the Indians with 22 points, including a key 3-pointer to open the third quarter.
"We’re better when we’re running up and down the court," Daugherty said. "We got off to slow start, so I had to get my team going by telling them to wake up and calm down and once they did we got the game under control."
Braeden Pursell and Josh Heape came off the bench to score 14 and 10 points, respectively.
"Braeden missed all but four games last season with a foot injury, so we talked about relaxing and letting the game come to him and tonight he showed everybody what he’s capable of," Barrington said. "We’re a little different team when we have everybody out there."
Leading by three at the start of the second quarter, Du Quoin came out of the break on fire going on a 15-5 run to take a 13-point lead with 3:16 remaining in the first half. During the run, Daugherty had three baskets and Shamar Adams added three free throws.
Preston Launius started a 6-0 run for the Devils to close out the first half with a steal to set up a Lukas Gunter for a fast break layup. Tyler Winchester then canned a jumper and Launius finished off with a defensive rebound and raced the length of the court for a layup to cut the lead to seven at the half, 34-27. Winchester led the Devils with 19 points, including three 3-pointers.
"Tonight we forced turnovers and even though we didn’t get a steal we got a deflection and pushed their offense further away from the basket than they wanted to be," Barrington said. "We took care of the ball much better this evening and we did what we needed to do to win."
Daugherty drained a 3-pointer from the left side 1:05 into the third quarter. After Launius scored, Daugherty hit a jumper to regain the 10-point lead. The Devils cut the lead to six with 3:15 remaining in the quarter, but Pursell split a pair of free throws before Klayton Donoghue picked of a pass and fed Daugherty for a layup.
After two free throws by Addison Page cut the lead back to seven, Eliot Gross swished a 3-pointer from the left corner with 35 seconds left to regain the 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Sesser-Valier got off to a fast start taking a 4-0 lead on a layup by Winchester off the tip followed by jumper 1:08 later. Daugherty scored for the Indians before Winchester drained a 3-pointer from the right corner to give Sesser-Valier a 7-2 lead.
"We made some shots early, but they got some many offensive rebounds in the first half," said Sesser-Valier coach Shane Garner. "It seemed when they missed a shot they would get an offensive board and when we would miss a shot they would get a transition. That was the story of the game."
In the first game on Friday, Cairo improved to 3-0 after being Carmi-White County, 54-38. Carmi-White County opens play today at noon against Sesser-Valier followed by Cairo playing Massac County at 1:30 p.m. The Patriots open the evening session against Sesser-Valier at 6 p.m.